Tristan Thompson: Kabongo Trip Was LegalPosted by KoryCarpenter on October 16th, 2012
The NCAA can be as unpredictable as midwestern weather when it comes to its investigations, so it’s hard to tell Texas fans to rest easy today. But if the most recent news coming out of the Myck Kabongo story is indeed true, it doesn’t seem likely that the Longhorns will be without the talented point guard this season.
Kabongo flew to Cleveland this summer for a private workout with childhood friend, former Texas teammate, and current Cleveland Cavalier Tristan Thompson. How Kabongo financed the trip is the reason behind the NCAA’s questioning. Yahoo! Sports originally reported that the trip was paid for by Thompson’s agent, Rich Paul, a clear violation of NCAA guidelines that could potentially have resulted in Kabongo ineligible to play this season. FoxSportsOhio is now reporting that Thompson paid for the trip rather than Paul. Because Thompson and Kabongo’s relationship goes back to their childhood, it appears unlikely that sanctions will come down on Kabongo or Texas.
“Did I pay for him? Well, yes and no. You know, I actually had to pay for it and then had his brother (Billy) reimburse me, which is totally fine with the NCAA. We discussed that. Again, we want to respect the process. I think everything’s going to work out. I don’t see (any) eligibility issues. But that’s for the NCAA to work out. They also know me and Myck’s relationship. If you go back in history, me and him went to high school together. We’ve been through a lot. They’re not knocking the friendship, they understand that. They just want to make sure no outside sources are financing that trip. But no one else did and we have the proof to show them. That’s what I provided to them and they’re going to go from there.”
So there’s that. Without any tangible proof refuting Thomson’s claim that he paid for his friend’s trip, it’s unlikely the NCAA will come down on Kabongo, a player who could make the difference between the NCAA Tournament and the NIT for Texas this season. Of course, if the NCAA can prove that Paul paid for anything on Kabongo’s behalf, such as a dinner or even a Gatorade, the scrutiny surrounding their investigation would heighten. For now, though, it looks like Kabongo will return to the Texas starting lineup for his sophomore season without any problems. As a freshman, Kabongo averaged 9.6 points and 5.6 assists per game for a Longhorn team that finished 18-11.